Winning The “Spiritual” Lottery

Sermon Titled “Worthy Of The Calling” (Ephesians 4:1-3) – Sunday March 9th, 2014

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  • Ephesians 4:1-3 4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Last weekend’s sermon, preached by Pastor Jason Beams, was a recap of the first three chapters of Ephesians, and an introduction to chapter 4. In the first three chapters, Paul wastes no time in declaring God’s love for those who believe. God’s love, says Paul, is so great that it will touch and change lives; it will restore and bring to life hurting and empty souls.

To grasp the significance of Paul’s words, Pastor Beams used a lottery analogy to help explain what God’s love looks like in the life of a believer. Imagine, he says, that your lottery ticket has the winning “jackpot” numbers, and you are about to receive such an enormous amount of money that it will instantly change your life? That would be amazing wouldn’t it? Except, in reality monetary gains seem to provide contentment on a superficial level only, giving the recipient joy for a while but eventually losing it’s ability to satisfy.

Spiritual gains and blessings on the other hand, are eternal, sustaining us throughout our lifetimes and into the next. To have access to God’s blessings each and every day would be like winning the “spiritual” lottery, and the good news is that we do have access to His blessings; we have the ability to start withdrawing from our “spiritual” bank account as soon as we say “yes” to Christ.

But what exactly are “spiritual” blessings and why would anyone want to give up chasing their own dreams and goals in favor of these? As Pastor Beams pointed out, nothing we pursue in this world will last forever. Yes, they may provide joy and satisfaction for a time, but they cannot completely satisfy the soul. And that is the key difference between blessings of the world and blessings that come from above.

Most people seek happiness in the form of acquisitions and achievements. We are raised to believe that we will be admired and respected if we do well in school and in our careers, if we have a nice home and family, and if we have status. Christ tells us however, that these things have no value at all, if we do not love. Here’s the catch however – we are to show love for people who are not easy to love; people we don’t know at all, people we don’t know intimately, and even people we do know but don’t particularly care for. If we can learn to love others in the way that Christ loves us, we will be abundantly blessed, and that brings us to what Paul has to say next in Ephesians Chapter 4.

As Paul wrote his letters to the Ephesian Christians, he wrote from a prison cell. It’s hard to imagine being behind bars, and perceiving such a situation to be a “blessed” one. Yet that is exactly how Paul felt; he believed that he was exactly where God wanted him to be. God had specific “works” for Paul to do, and those works were able to be accomplished because Paul was in a place where he had time on his hands and no distractions.

This “putting into perspective” what at first seems like a terrible situation, was only possible for Paul because he understood the will of God. Paul was able to discern God’s will, because he also understood that God’s love comes with blessings that enable a vision of His truth. To have that kind of understanding is to have peace when others don’t, and peace (of mind and soul), is what I believe most people are ultimately searching for; they just don’t realize that they are looking in the wrong places.

If we want to have God’s peace in our lives, as Paul did, we are asked to abide by God’s commands. In Ephesians 4, Paul says that we are to live a life worthy of God’s calling; that means we are to do our best to follow in Christ’s footsteps and humbly take the form of a servant. Not literally of course, but our mindsets should change in such a way that we are willing to help whoever, wherever, and however God calls us to.

We should also be willing to serve God in unity, with our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. Sadly, this is often not the case, and it’s to the church’s detriment when conflict between members is unable to be resolved. Differences of opinion resulting in arguments are sure to arise from time to time, but Paul encourages us all to focus on the bigger picture and realize that the work God has given each of us to do, is not about us. We have already been saved and it is our duty as such, to unite together and be a light that draws (not repels) others to Christ.

In summing up, Pastor Beams ended this sermon by echoing Paul’s appeal to all Christians, to live their lives in a manner worthy of God’s calling. We have but one life, and one chance to use it. You will probably never win the lottery jackpot, but you’re guaranteed to win the “spiritual” lottery if you take your chances on God and place all of your bets on Him. The stakes might seem high at first, but test Him and see; I think you’ll find that the “spiritual” winnings He lavishes upon you are worth it.

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